June 23, 2017
Last week we were hit with a great, heaping pile of info on the new DLC pack for Breath of the Wild, and it left us with a great mugshot of a new foe; the Golden Lynel. This got me thinking how great a challenge the Master Trials could potentially offer, but moreover it reminded me how I felt about the inclusion of Lynels in the game to begin with. The last game we saw them in before this was A Link Between Worlds, and they were portrayed essentially identically to every previous appearance since their introduction in the original Legend of Zelda, to the point where I actually forgot they were included at all.
The first encounter many of us had playing Breath of the Wild was surely from the main quest string in Zora’s Domain on the hunt for shock arrows. From the moment that the Lynel was mentioned, I gained great anticipation to see what they had done to update this fight, and I was not disappointed. This marks the first true 3D representation of the Lynel, and it made for a bewildering battle every time you encountered one.
Along this train of thought, I began to ponder what other foes might be updated, as Hinox creatures were shown off in the trailers preceeding release, as well as Molduga, which at that time reminded me of Molgera, a boss from Wind Waker. Seeing more updated fights and spiritual successors like Molduga is something I always look forward to in a new Zelda game, so I thought it would be fun to think of ways to incorporate more enemies into new DLC for Breath of the Wild, or just whatever the next game may be.
Now I have assembled a list of my favorites, somewhat as a follow-up to a few weeks ago when I wrote about my five favorite items Breath of the Wild could benefit from. Today I am presenting this article series with a moniker; Top Five Zelda: [Blank]. As you might gather, the blank will be filled in with a different phrase every time, so look out for future lists, and be sure to comment if you have a suggestion! Now on to the actual article. Four paragraphs without actually addressing the topic is probably a record for my time here.
#5: Guardian (Breath of the Wild)
Being brand new to the series does not mean we should be done with these mechanical monstrosities. Despite appearing nigh-indestructible at the beginning of the game, Guardians become more approachable foes fairly quickly, and even once I obtained my final heart container I still thought the challenge was fun. There is a mystical quality about reflecting their laser blast with a pot lid or chopping off their legs with a glowing Master Sword. It will absolutely never become stale as many times as I replay this game through the years.
There is also a plethora of Guardian varieties in the game already, adding to the experience since you must discover a new way to battle each one. The “Test of Strength” Guardians got somewhat tedious and repetitive, but by adding new mechanics or weapons to them, I believe that they could once again become relevant in another game. This also leaves room for new Guardians to come. Perhaps we could see burrowing Guardians messing up the homes of the Gorons or diving Guardians to avoid or confront before entering a new water dungeon. The ideas are endless, and I do not believe we will be done with this colossal construct any time soon.
#4: Dark Link (The Adventure of Link)
This is one of the few concepts I actually enjoyed in Zelda II. Despite never actually facing him in his original game, (as I have never beaten it) I enjoyed his influence on the story after reading through it in Hyrule Historia, and I loved the way he was presented in other titles. Ocarina of Time’s placement of him in the Water Temple made very little thematic sense to me, however the incredible fight against yourself was a great distraction from the long and arduous dungeon. It broke up the labrynthine, booby-trapped, puzzle-ridden nightmare by adding a unique challenge to a dungeon that otherwise had very little combat. In Four Swords Adventures, his appearances were all very light-hearted and almost comical; he appeared more as a prank-playing poltergeist than a foe who really had it out for you. His latest appearance in Hyrule Warriors was the direct opposite of that. The idea presented here, that he came out of Link’s cocky personality, alongside his whimsical nature in Four Swords Adventures shows Dark Link is a character that can be portrayed in many different ways, adding to the game no matter what the tone.
#3: Iron Knuckle (The Adventure of Link)
I really hated these guys in Zelda II, as I did most enemies, and for that matter the entire game. Without their original appearance, though, we may have never seen their promising potential realized in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. These foes made stellar sub-bosses in both games, and for a time I compared them to Darknuts, a foe remade in more titles, but their combat style is simply not the same. Both are large foes, but in every 3D itteration, Darknuts have appeared fairly nimble. Even Wind Waker’s bulky, armor-clad Darknuts could jump backwards halfway across a room to dodge your blade, and in many cases outrun Link to retrieve a dropped sword.
A slow-but-steady counterpoint to Darknuts can be found in their massive-axe-weilding bretheren, Iron Knuckles. These things pack a serious punch, dealing eight hearts damage to Young Link in Majora’s Mask. Putting two of them together as a last-minute test of strength before Ocarina of Time’s final challenge, Ganondorf, made for an intense but satisfying warm-up before you find yourself pitted against the Prince of Darkness.
#2: Dead Hand (Ocarina of Time)
Okay, are you sure this game is supposed to be rated E for Everyone? Just how many dead guys make up this thing? My all-time favorite miniboss, the Dead Hand is a surreal, nightmarish blob of corpses that grapples Link with several hands at once and burrows through the ground. When he emerges, he reaches his freakishly elongated neck down to literally bite faces off.
The sheer creepiness factor of this unforgettable foe goes a long way to him securing a spot on this list. It is never really explained how this homuncular horror came to be, so it is just left to your imagination. Perhaps a mommy Gibdo and a daddy Gibdo loved each other very much, or perhaps the composer brothers dug way too deep into something they should not have. Either way, the fun challenge combined with the horror-film form beat out everything on this list except for…
#1: Gleeok (The Legend of Zelda)
Gleeok was remade in far less games than it deserved, and no game yet has recreated the essence I imagined confronting it in the original Legend of Zelda. The closest version was in Oracle of Seasons, a game originally designed to be an enhanced remake of the original. The fight was fun and unique, but did not fully capture the frantic nature of the original boss when Link encountered four-headed versions. The re-imagined boss in Phantom Hourglass shared nothing in common with the original, the only resemblance between the two dragons being both bore two heads.
I feel this is unjust to my favorite boss from the original game. I would love to see Gleeok remade in 3D with the same mechanics he used to have. The idea of facing a dragon with several heads is intimidating enough, but having them fly around the room and spit fire at you while you attempt to deal with the rest of the heads would make for an unparalleled challenge that would make a complimentary capstone to any dungeon.
There we have it. The best possible list of enemies that should be remade. Unless of course you are one of those “Bring back the Pols Voice” kind of players. If that is the case, then by all means, shout off in the comments or hit us up on Twitter, @2guysplayzelda or myself, @spamomanospam. Be sure to share the article with your friends (share buttons at bottom) so you can all nitpick my absurd choices together and keep the conversation rolling!